No one in Heimdal, ND was injured from the derailment of a Burlington Northern Santa Fe (a Berkshire Hathaway company) tanker train, which subsequently burst into flames, just a week after federal regulators passed new safety rules governing crude by rail. Almost 450,000 tankers of crude moved through North America last year, up from just 9,500 in 2009.
Kristen Boyles, an attorney for the group Earthjustice, said the rules are too weak and will take too long to take effect.Before last weekend's 50th anniversary Berkshire-Hathaway shareholder weekend in Omaha, someone strung the following sign across Omaha's main drag, Dodge Street. It was quickly removed.
"We need to get these exploding death trains off the tracks now," Boyles said. The Heimdal accident comes nearly two years after a tragic oil derailment killed 47 people and destroyed the center of a small Quebec town.
Steve Jordon, of the Omaha World-Herald (a Berkshire-Hathaway company), reported that Mike Gaughen, who handles sign permits for the public works department, said Omaha doesn't allow advertising or messages about controversial issues on public property, "certainly not criticizing a major corporation like that."
North Dakota farmers have complained that their crops rot on the ground while BNSF and Union Pacific now give first priority to more profitable oil.